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Octree + extracting triangles from complex objects

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Hi I'm a programmer (not in the gaming field) and i'm learning game programming using an API (DirectX) I've done some tutorials about the basics. Now I want to partition my objects (mesh and terrain) so that I dont use CPu time drawing an object 10 km away. I simply need information (not too general, and algorithm would be appreciated) on octrees please and how to use them in ! I know it's been answered a million times. Another question too : if I want to do collision detection or render only a part of a complex objext(mesh terrain) , does I really need to check all the coordinates of all the triangles ? It seems time consuming to loop in that vertex or index buffer just ot find the coordinates of a specific triangle. If there is another way to do this please tell me And I would like to know what kind of object is the most used in a 3D game: Meshes ? textured quad ? Are they using heigthmaps for terrain? P.S :When I talk of objects I mean 'something that is rendered , that you see on the screen. Sorry if this term is used incorrectly.

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